The Eastern MA Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) will conduct an exercise in conjunction with the National Red Cross exercise. Operation “Unify” on May 8th, 2021 from 10 AM to 12 Noon (setup to start at 830-9 AM where needed) to test its capability in establishing communications with stations inside and outside of the section. Operation “Unity” will attempt to build upon the lessons learned from past operational exercises.
The exercise scenario involves a power grid failure caused by an X range solar flare. Eventually, hundreds of thousands of people in Eastern Massachusetts are left without power due to this solar flare.
“This exercise guideline is deliberately broad and generic in nature similar to our previous exercises. ARES groups are free to adapt this scenario and conduct their exercise as needed for their group,” writes District Emergency Coordinator Frank O’Laughlin, WQ1O.
“This is another great opportunity, similar to the Fall and Winter exercises, for new Amateur Radio Operators, whether they are involved in ARES or not, to check into nets, provide simulated information and exercise traffic, or just check in and learn how nets work and what ARES can do during an actual event. This includes the National Weather Service SKYWARN component of ARES despite a non-weather scenario” writes Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator.
With the ongoing COVID-19 situation in MA, it will be unlikely that groups will be able to operate at EOCs and other municipal locations. Therefore any activation of shelters will be simulated by role play. It is likely that most of the operations involved in this exercise will utilize home stations along with field sites on Cape Cod and at other local ARES groups and those local groups’ discretion.
Some exercise objectives include:
• Simulate the activation of shelters in your area;
• Simulate the activation of EOC stations in your area;
• Establish and conduct a tactical net on simplex 2m FM/ repeater for your group;
• Simulate contact with any Town EOC RACES stations (Home stations is OK if COVID restricted) ;
• Establish contact with other ARES districts where possible;
• Establish an HF 75 meter voice net for all of MA (and potentially other areas);
• Establish an HF 60 meter voice net for all of MA (and potentially other areas);
• Pass an NTS type message on 2 meters VHF and/or 440 MHz;
• Pass a SKYWARN and/or tactical message on voice 2 meters and on the HF net;
• Optional components of the exercise to pass information digitally via Winlink and NBEMS (Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System) on VHF and HF between stations locally and to Red Cross
For full details, see the “Eastern MA Exercise Scenario and Guidelines” document at Eastern Massachusetts ARES Operation Unify Exercise – Saturday May 8th, 2021